GERD, Reflux, and Obesity
There are many reasons why an obese person should consider weight loss surgery. Having surgery can treat or prevent critical diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and even cancers. In addition to this, if you are obese and frequently encounter heartburn and reflux, gastric bypass will help you achieve significant or complete relief from your symptoms.
Reflux and obesity
Part of the reason why obese patients experience reflux is due to excess weight constantly applying pressure throughout the abdomen. This can lead to a significant amount of stomach acid being pushed back into the esophagus which translates into heartburn and reflux symptoms. For those struggling with significant gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), this can be a debilitating condition that significantly interferes with quality of life.
A major reason why gastric bypass helps with reflux symptoms is that the majority of the stomach is now “detached” from the esophagus. Notice in the diagram below that you end up with a small “pouch” of a stomach.
This part of the stomach that receives food is literally isolated away from the rest of the stomach. Your small “pouch” will make some acid but when compared to the rest of the stomach, it is significantly less. With this anatomic change, most of the stomach acid simply cannot return to the esophagus.
Is surgery the fix?
In fact, I would rank gastric bypass as the most effective antireflux surgery available. Another condition that contributes to GERD, especially in obese patients, is hiatal hernia. This hernia is not one you can feel from the outside. It is in the muscle called the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a sheet-like muscle that assists you in taking breaths in and out.
Everyone has a hiatus/hole in the diaphragm which allows your esophagus to go through it which then quickly connects to the stomach. This hole can get stretched out over time due to obesity which can allow part of the stomach to gain access into the chest cavity. This leads to significant reflux. When the size of this hernia is significant, it can be surgically repaired at the same time as your weight loss surgery.
We encounter many obese patients every week with severe reflux symptoms. You may be in frequent fear of certain foods because of bad reflux they can cause. You may also be experiencing terrible reflux when you lay flat to go to sleep. Perhaps, you sleep in a recliner because of acid chocking you awake in the middle of the night. You may be taking antacid medication multiple times a day just to keep your symptoms at bay.
Perhaps you wonder why you have frequent coughs and sore throat. If you are suffering from any or all of above-mentioned symptoms, it is highly likely that you have some degree of reflux disease. Along with having a longer and healthier life, relief from bad reflux disease is yet another reason why you should consider weight loss surgery.
Connect with Roller Weight Loss to discuss your options.